What You Learn From 30 Days of No Booze, Sugar, Gluten, or Dairy

Blogger Grace Boyle of Small Hands, Big Ideas describes what it’s like to go through a 30-day cleanse.

I embarked on a 30-day food challenge. It was pretty strict. At a high level, I couldn’t have:

Gluten/WheatDairyBoozeSugar

That eliminates a lot of things we enjoy in our daily consumption of food. But ensures for a lot of clean eating, and it also promoted points for sleeping eight hours, five days a week of working out (I didn’t always get five, but always worked out like I do anyway), and 10 minutes a day of meditation or some sort of quiet time without technology.

Today is the last day of the challenge, and I’m happy to say I stuck to ¡ª I’m most happy about the no booze and no sugar.

The biggest win for me was about forming new habits. There are a lot of two-week cleanses or 10-day challenges, and for me, I knew I needed to do a full 30 days. I feel like anyone could do anything for 30 days, and I needed to commit to it ¡ª all or nothing. No point to skimp here or there ¡ª might as well do it all the way. Besides a few little hiccups, or not being able to control what my food was cooked in or when I ate out, I was as strict as could be.

What I learned:Clean food can be good. I scoured Instagram, Pinterest, magazines, etc. to find delicious recipes that were clean eating/Paleo-inspired, and when I cooked for people, they all enjoyed it. It wasn’t like I was limiting myself from all good food, because whole and healthy food is good too, banishing the misconception that you have to eat bland food to eat clean.I cooked a lot more. I love cooking, so that was great to get back to. Especially in the Winter, I’ve gotten into habits being so tired after work or working out, so we would resort to takeout or throwaway meals, because it was easy (frozen pizza anyone)? Not only does it save money, but it’s also good to cook together and find that balance of being creative in the kitchen.I slept better. I don’t sleep well even with a few drinks, so I slept really well the last 30 days.I felt very clear. I think it’s largely to do with gluten, but I generally didn’t feel foggy. Your food and diet have such a big impact on this.Self-control is an amazing thing. I felt powerful and loved knowing that I didn’t “need” anything and that I’m not addicted to anything. It’s a good feeling to be able to say no and put my foot down, and that’s that.Muscle weighs more than fat ¡ª go by how you feel. The point is to feel good. I don’t own a scale, and with all the heavy lifting I do at CrossFit, my weight doesn’t really reflect what I look like (or feel like). I did weigh myself near the end of the challenge at a doctor’s appointment, and I was let down to realize I weighed the same as I remembered, perhaps even more. After talking myself off a ledge, I reminded myself that I feel good and fit into clothes far better than before. I also measured inches before and after, and lost a total of 7.5 inches (waist, bust, thighs), which is where it really matters for me. In my waist alone, I am down 3.5 inches.This particular challenge eliminated not only sugar but also healthy ones like honey, for instance, so because this challenge is so strict, it isn’t really that sustainable. I still want to have the flexibility to go out and enjoy with friends, but I think I’ve swung the pendulum back. I think, for most of the time, I will eat clean and, for a smaller percentage, eat when I feel good and right without being stressed. Now that I saw that I can do it and that I feel better overall, I’m apt to try it more often than not.If you set your mind to it, you can do it. The biggest fear I had, was that I would fail and that I wasn’t strong enough. That I’m just that fat kid who wants to eat a bag of cookies and can’t restrain myself (parts of this may always be true because I truly love food). I held off on similar challenges at my own CrossFit gym because of the pressure and I felt too overwhelmed. Finally with other co-workers doing this with me and feeling stuffed from the holidays, I decided to take the leap. It’s a huge resurgence for me to remember that my physical and mental toughness is strong. I did have a few freak-outs during the 30-day period, I’ll admit that, and there were times where I had to forgo social outings. I missed certain foods a lot or watched everyone indulge in cheese and wine while I chugged soda water, but it was worth it. And I made it. Unscathed even!

Although today is the last day, I’m not rushing off to get a bottle of wine and I will keep cooking more and probably eating like I have for the last 30 days (with some windows for fun). For now, I’m going to give myself a hug and relax a little though. ‘Cause, I did it!

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne

Nutritionist-Recommended Foods to Suppress Your Appetite Naturally

There may be no magic pill for weight loss, but dietician Julie Upton, MS, RD, of Appetite For Health, stays on top of the science behind taming your appetite naturally. Here, she deciphers recent research and shares six foods that will keep your appetite in check.

Feel like you need some help with hunger management? You’re not alone. Most of my clients who struggle with weight loss or maintenance also struggle with hunger. Of course, it’s no coincidence ¡ª it’s hard to walk around feeling famished, particularly when you’re faced with the temptation of high-calorie treats everywhere you turn. No wonder willpower wilts!

Related: Eat These 6 Everyday Foods to Burn More Calories

The good news is that several new studies have identified compounds in certain foods that trigger the release of hormones in the stomach that help you feel full and neurotransmitters in the brain that suppress appetite and reduce cravings. Eating more of these foods can help keep your hunger in check, even as you cut calories to peel off pounds. It’s a weight-loss win-win!

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

Apples

An apple a day may keep extra pounds away, according to research that shows this fruit contains filling soluble fiber as well as ursolic acid, a natural compound that has been found to boost fat burning and which may promote lean muscle mass. In one study, researchers from the University of Iowa note that animals given ursolic acid supplements increased their muscle mass and energy expenditure (or calorie burn). And a study that was done on people and published in the journal Appetite shows that women who added three small apples (total calorie cost: 200) to their diet per day lost a little more than two pounds in 10 weeks ¡ª more than dieters who did not include the fruit in their diet.

Related: Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bake: Guaranteed to Keep You Full Until Lunch

A medium apple has 95 calories and 6 grams of fiber; a small apple has 75 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber. Be sure to eat the whole apple, as the ursolic acid as well as beneficial antioxidants are concentrated in the skin.

Beans (. . . and peas, lentils, and chickpeas)

Beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas are a triple threat against hunger because they contain a lot of fiber; are excellent sources of slow-to-digest protein; and have a low glycemic index to keep blood sugar and carbohydrate cravings in check. A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Obesity indicates that people who ate about one cup (5.5 ounces) of legumes felt 31 percent fuller than those who didn’t eat these fiber-filled foods. Another study, published recently in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, reports that overweight people who ate a bean-rich diet lost nearly 10 pounds in 16 weeks while simultaneously improving their blood cholesterol levels.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne

Eggs

Here’s some egg-citing news: eating a breakfast that’s rich in protein (20 to 30 grams) suppresses ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates your appetite, while elevating peptide YY and GLP-1, two hormones that enhance satiety, according to research. One study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that when subjects ate eggs for breakfast (versus equal-calorie breakfasts of either cereal or croissants), they consumed up to 438 fewer calories over the entire day. In fact, studies have found that an egg breakfast may help control hunger for a full 24 hours. (To keep blood cholesterol in check, you can enjoy one egg yolk per day and use egg whites for the additional protein they provide.)

Related: How Eggs Help With Weight Loss

Greek Yogurt

Need a reason to go Greek? A landmark study, published in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, reports that among more than 8,500 European adults, those who enjoyed a serving or more of European-style yogurt every day (either low fat or full fat, but with less added sugars compared to US varieties) were 20 percent less likely to become overweight and 38 percent less likely to become obese during the six-year follow-up compared to those who ate less than two servings of yogurt each week. How could thick and creamy Greek yogurt whittle your middle? The researchers believe that the protein, calcium, and probiotics may all play a role.

Plain Greek yogurt is your best bet because it’s strained to lose the watery whey and some of the natural sugars. It has roughly twice the protein as traditional yogurt (a cup of plain Greek yogurt packs 24 grams of protein, as much as four large eggs) and half the sugar (with only about eight to nine grams of natural dairy sugars and no added sugar).

Mangos

Mangos are not only delicious, but they’re also diet-friendly. A study in The Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences suggests that mango-eaters weighed less and had better diets than those who missed out on mangoes. This stone fruit contains many bioactive ingredients, including mangiferin, a compound that has been shown in preliminary research to help reduce body fat and control blood sugar levels. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition reports that mango added to the diets of rodents prevented weight gain and improved blood sugar and insulin levels when the animals were fed a high-fat diet to promote weight gain.

A cup of sliced mango has just 100 calories and 3 grams of filling fiber. Say, mmm, mango!

Pistachios (. . . and other nuts)

Go ahead, get a little nutty! Despite being high in calories (160 to 170 calories per ounce), nuts can be very slimming. Studies show that nut lovers are thinner than those who avoid or rarely eat nuts. Why? Nuts keep you fuller longer; their calories aren’t fully absorbed by the body, and nuts provide a modest boost to your metabolism, according to research.

In-shell pistachios provide a unique advantage for waistline-watchers. A preliminary study from Eastern Illinois University suggests that people who snacked on in-shell pistachios consumed 41 percent fewer calories than those who ate shelled pistachios. The authors say the empty shells might be a helpful visual cue about how much has been eaten, thereby encouraging you to eat less.

Nutritionist-Recommended Foods to Suppress Your Appetite Naturally

There may be no magic pill for weight loss| but dietician Julie Upton| MS| RD| of Appetite For Health| stays on top of the science behind taming your appetite naturally. Here| she deciphers recent research and shares six foods that will keep your appetite in check.

Feel like you need some help with hunger management? You’re not alone. Most of my clients who struggle with weight loss or maintenance also struggle with hunger. Of course| it’s no coincidence ¡ª it’s hard to walk around feeling famished| particularly when you’re faced with the temptation of high-calorie treats everywhere you turn. No wonder willpower wilts!

Related: Eat These 6 Everyday Foods to Burn More Calories

The good news is that several new studies have identified compounds in certain foods that trigger the release of hormones in the stomach that help you feel full and neurotransmitters in the brain that suppress appetite and reduce cravings. Eating more of these foods can help keep your hunger in check| even as you cut calories to peel off pounds. It’s a weight-loss win-win!

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

Apples

An apple a day may keep extra pounds away| according to research that shows this fruit contains filling soluble fiber as well as ursolic acid| a natural compound that has been found to boost fat burning and which may promote lean muscle mass. In one study| researchers from the University of Iowa note that animals given ursolic acid supplements increased their muscle mass and energy expenditure (or calorie burn). And a study that was done on people and published in the journal Appetite shows that women who added three small apples (total calorie cost: 200) to their diet per day lost a little more than two pounds in 10 weeks more than dieters who did not include the fruit in their diet.

Related: Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bake: Guaranteed to Keep You Full Until Lunch

A medium apple has 95 calories and 6 grams of fiber; a small apple has 75 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber. Be sure to eat the whole apple| as the ursolic acid as well as beneficial antioxidants are concentrated in the skin.

Beans (. . . and peas| lentils| and chickpeas)

Beans| peas| lentils| and chickpeas are a triple threat against hunger because they contain a lot of fiber; are excellent sources of slow-to-digest protein; and have a low glycemic index to keep blood sugar and carbohydrate cravings in check. A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Obesity indicates that people who ate about one cup (5.5 ounces) of legumes felt 31 percent fuller than those who didn’t eat these fiber-filled foods. Another study| published recently in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics| reports that overweight people who ate a bean-rich diet lost nearly 10 pounds in 16 weeks while simultaneously improving their blood cholesterol levels.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne

Eggs

Here’s some egg-citing news: eating a breakfast that’s rich in protein (20 to 30 grams) suppresses ghrelin| a hormone that stimulates your appetite| while elevating peptide YY and GLP-1| two hormones that enhance satiety| according to research. One study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that when subjects ate eggs for breakfast (versus equal-calorie breakfasts of either cereal or croissants)| they consumed up to 438 fewer calories over the entire day. In fact| studies have found that an egg breakfast may help control hunger for a full 24 hours. (To keep blood cholesterol in check| you can enjoy one egg yolk per day and use egg whites for the additional protein they provide.)

Related: How Eggs Help With Weight Loss

Greek Yogurt

Need a reason to go Greek? A landmark study| published in Nutrition| Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases| reports that among more than 8|500 European adults| those who enjoyed a serving or more of European-style yogurt every day (either low fat or full fat| but with less added sugars compared to US varieties) were 20 percent less likely to become overweight and 38 percent less likely to become obese during the six-year follow-up compared to those who ate less than two servings of yogurt each week. How could thick and creamy Greek yogurt whittle your middle? The researchers believe that the protein| calcium| and probiotics may all play a role.

Plain Greek yogurt is your best bet because it’s strained to lose the watery whey and some of the natural sugars. It has roughly twice the protein as traditional yogurt (a cup of plain Greek yogurt packs 24 grams of protein| as much as four large eggs) and half the sugar (with only about eight to nine grams of natural dairy sugars and no added sugar).

Mangos

Mangos are not only delicious| but they’re also diet-friendly. A study in The Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences suggests that mango-eaters weighed less and had better diets than those who missed out on mangoes. This stone fruit contains many bioactive ingredients| including mangiferin| a compound that has been shown in preliminary research to help reduce body fat and control blood sugar levels. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition reports that mango added to the diets of rodents prevented weight gain and improved blood sugar and insulin levels when the animals were fed a high-fat diet to promote weight gain.

A cup of sliced mango has just 100 calories and 3 grams of filling fiber. Say| mmm| mango!

Pistachios (. . . and other nuts)

Go ahead| get a little nutty! Despite being high in calories (160 to 170 calories per ounce)| nuts can be very slimming. Studies show that nut lovers are thinner than those who avoid or rarely eat nuts. Why? Nuts keep you fuller longer; their calories aren’t fully absorbed by the body| and nuts provide a modest boost to your metabolism| according to research.

In-shell pistachios provide a unique advantage for waistline-watchers. A preliminary study from Eastern Illinois University suggests that people who snacked on in-shell pistachios consumed 41 percent fewer calories than those who ate shelled pistachios. The authors say the empty shells might be a helpful visual cue about how much has been eaten| thereby encouraging you to eat less.

7 Myths Nutritionists Wish You’d Stop Believing

There’s a lot of misinformation out there, but dietitian Julie Upton, MS, RD, of Appetite For Health, is here to shed light on seven nutritional myths that could mess with your weight-loss efforts and your health.

The Internet is like the Wild West when it comes to nutrition information: anything goes. Websites are rife with less-than-accurate nutrition facts, which only fuels food myths and adds to consumers’ confusion about which picks are the healthiest. At best, you can hope there’s a kernel of truth in what you’re reading, but more often than not, there’s no scientific basis for these myths. Below are seven of the most popular nutrition myths and the real deal on each.

Related: Look For These 46 Ways Added Sugar Can Appear on Your Food Label

Myth 1: You need to detox your body with a juice cleanse.

Fact: From celebrities to personal trainers, there’s no shortage of so-called experts advocating fasts or juice cleanses to detox. If you Google “detox,” you’ll get nearly 64 million results for diet programs and treatments that are supposed to help “flush out your system,” “remove toxic substances from the body,” “give your GI tract a rest,” or “speed up your metabolism” and “enhance your overall health.” But despite all the hype and popularity, there’s little proof that fasting or following a deprivation diet for several days actually delivers on any of the above promises.

While an occasional short fast or a day of following a “juice diet” won’t cause harm for most healthy people, it will likely leave you feeling cranky and hungry. If you really want to be and feel your best, eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, get adequate sleep, and don’t drink more than one alcoholic beverage per day.

Myth 2: Diet sodas make you gain weight.

Fact: While you may have read that diet beverages make you gain weight, a recent clinical trial found just the opposite. In the 12-week study, published in the journal Obesity, dieters who drank diet beverages lost 13 pounds on average ¡ª 44 percent more than subjects drinking water only, who lost an average of nine pounds. What’s more, the diet-soda drinkers reported feeling more satisfied. This study adds to a substantial body of research demonstrating that low-calorie sweeteners and the diet beverages that contain them do not hinder but can in fact help with weight loss. Two peer-reviewed studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by researchers from the University of North Carolina in 2012 and 2013 randomly assigned subjects to drink either water or diet beverages (without making any other changes to their diet). After six months, the diet-beverage group had a greater likelihood of reaching a meaningful amount of weight loss ¡ª five percent of one’s body weight ¡ª compared to the control group. These studies reinforce that if you’re trying to lose weight, diet beverages may help you peel off pounds, as they can help you achieve and maintain a lower-calorie eating plan.

Myth 3: Canola oil is made from rapeseed plants, which are toxic.

Fact: Canola oil comes from the crushed seeds of canola plants ¡ª not rapeseed plants, which are, in fact, harmful. Rapeseed oil contains high levels of erucic acid, which is linked to heart disease and therefore is not allowed to be sold in the US. While the two plants are cousins, they’re distinctly different in their composition. In the 1960s, farmers used breeding methods to help eliminate the erucic acid from canola plants, and canola oil is now regulated to contain negligible amounts of the compound, ensuring that canola oil is 100 percent safe. In fact, it also happens to be one of the healthiest oils (behind olive oil) because it has less saturated fat and more heart-protective omega-3s than other vegetable oils. Canola oil is just seven percent saturated fat compared to olive oil, which is 15 percent saturated fat.

Related: Confused About Added Sugars? Read a Nutritionist’s Advice on the Matter

Myth 4: Sea salt has less sodium than table salt and is mineral-rich.

Fact: Run-of-the-mill Morton table salt and gourmet Himalayan sea salt contain essentially the same amount of sodium per teaspoon ¡ª 2,300 milligrams. As for minerals, neither contains enough of any mineral to make it a clear winner over the other. For instance, a teaspoon of table salt has just 1 mg calcium compared to 12 mg in sea salt. Since 12 mg is just one percent of your daily needs, it’s not a very healthy way to get calcium into your diet.

Most people believe that sea salt tastes better and, in some cases, you may be able to use less of it (and therefore reduce your sodium intake), but it is by no means a lower-sodium and more mineral-rich option. Keep in mind, sea salt lacks iodine ¡ª and not getting enough of this compound can lead to goiter, intellectual impairments, growth retardation, and much more. In fact, iodine deficiency is a serious health threat, especially among pregnant women, according to Boston University researchers, so don’t use sea salt exclusively in your diet.

Myth 5: Some foods, like celery, have negative calories.

Fact: When something sounds too good to be true, well, it probably is. Take “negative-calorie foods” as an example. The notion is that digesting certain foods burns more calories than those foods provide. The faulty logic of this urban legend is based on the scientifically proven thermic effect of food (TEF), which simply means the amount of energy the body uses to digest a food. The thinking goes, if you were to eat a very low-calorie food ¡ª common examples include celery, apples, and limes ¡ª then you’d actually create a calorie deficit. In other words, these foods would end up costing less-than-zero calories.

Sadly, there are no negative-calorie foods. The TEF generally ranges from 10 percent to 20 percent of the calories in a food. So let’s say a celery stalk has seven calories. Even if you assume a 20 percent TEF, that means you’re still left with about five and a half calories.

Myth 6: It takes 21 days to break a bad habit (or form a new one).

Fact: Popular self-help gurus and many diet plans claim that it will take 21 days to form a new healthy habit ¡ª or break a bad one. The truth is, there is no magical time frame for breaking bad habits. One study that evaluated behavior change found that creating a new habit, like eating a piece of fruit daily, took an average of 66 days. However, there were wide variations ¡ª anywhere from 18 days to 254 days. The authors found the adaptation time was a function of how hard the new behavior is as well as the individual. If you’re trying something new, like daily exercise, give yourself time to make it a routine. It may not happen overnight ¡ª or even in 21 days!

Myth 7: Muscle can turn to fat ( . . . and vice versa).

Fact: You’ll often hear someone at the gym say something like, “Since my injury, my muscles have turned to mush.” But this isn’t the case because muscle and fat tissues are entirely different, and therefore they can never transform from one to the other. It’s the equivalent of saying you can turn water into wine or lead into gold.

What really happens when you stop exercising is that your muscle mass declines. And how you gain fat tissue is when you eat more calories than you burn off, which is much easier to do when you’re not exercising. And likewise, when you up your exercise routine, you’ll add lean tissue and might start burning excess body fat, but your fat didn’t turn into muscle.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

7 Myths Nutritionists Wish You’d Stop Believing

There’s a lot of misinformation out there| but dietitian Julie Upton| MS| RD| of Appetite For Health| is here to shed light on seven nutritional myths that could mess with your weight-loss efforts and your health.

The Internet is like the Wild West when it comes to nutrition information: anything goes. Websites are rife with less-than-accurate nutrition facts| which only fuels food myths and adds to consumers’ confusion about which picks are the healthiest. At best| you can hope there’s a kernel of truth in what you’re reading| but more often than not| there’s no scientific basis for these myths. Below are seven of the most popular nutrition myths and the real deal on each.

Related: Look For These 46 Ways Added Sugar Can Appear on Your Food Label

Myth 1: You need to detox your body with a juice cleanse.

Fact: From celebrities to personal trainers| there’s no shortage of so-called experts advocating fasts or juice cleanses to detox. If you Google “detox|” you’ll get nearly 64 million results for diet programs and treatments that are supposed to help “flush out your system|” “remove toxic substances from the body|” “give your GI tract a rest|” or “speed up your metabolism” and “enhance your overall health.” But despite all the hype and popularity| there’s little proof that fasting or following a deprivation diet for several days actually delivers on any of the above promises.

While an occasional short fast or a day of following a “juice diet” won’t cause harm for most healthy people| it will likely leave you feeling cranky and hungry. If you really want to be and feel your best| eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables| get adequate sleep| and don’t drink more than one alcoholic beverage per day.

Myth 2: Diet sodas make you gain weight.

Fact: While you may have read that diet beverages make you gain weight| a recent clinical trial found just the opposite. In the 12-week study| published in the journal Obesity| dieters who drank diet beverages lost 13 pounds on average 44 percent more than subjects drinking water only| who lost an average of nine pounds. What’s more| the diet-soda drinkers reported feeling more satisfied. This study adds to a substantial body of research demonstrating that low-calorie sweeteners and the diet beverages that contain them do not hinder but can in fact help with weight loss. Two peer-reviewed studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by researchers from the University of North Carolina in 2012 and 2013 randomly assigned subjects to drink either water or diet beverages (without making any other changes to their diet). After six months| the diet-beverage group had a greater likelihood of reaching a meaningful amount of weight loss five percent of one’s body weight compared to the control group. These studies reinforce that if you’re trying to lose weight| diet beverages may help you peel off pounds| as they can help you achieve and maintain a lower-calorie eating plan.

Myth 3: Canola oil is made from rapeseed plants| which are toxic.

Fact: Canola oil comes from the crushed seeds of canola plants not rapeseed plants| which are| in fact| harmful. Rapeseed oil contains high levels of erucic acid| which is linked to heart disease and therefore is not allowed to be sold in the US. While the two plants are cousins| they’re distinctly different in their composition. In the 1960s| farmers used breeding methods to help eliminate the erucic acid from canola plants| and canola oil is now regulated to contain negligible amounts of the compound| ensuring that canola oil is 100 percent safe. In fact| it also happens to be one of the healthiest oils (behind olive oil) because it has less saturated fat and more heart-protective omega-3s than other vegetable oils. Canola oil is just seven percent saturated fat compared to olive oil| which is 15 percent saturated fat.

Related: Confused About Added Sugars? Read a Nutritionist’s Advice on the Matter

Myth 4: Sea salt has less sodium than table salt and is mineral-rich.

Fact: Run-of-the-mill Morton table salt and gourmet Himalayan sea salt contain essentially the same amount of sodium per teaspoon 2|300 milligrams. As for minerals| neither contains enough of any mineral to make it a clear winner over the other. For instance| a teaspoon of table salt has just 1 mg calcium compared to 12 mg in sea salt. Since 12 mg is just one percent of your daily needs| it’s not a very healthy way to get calcium into your diet.

Most people believe that sea salt tastes better and| in some cases| you may be able to use less of it (and therefore reduce your sodium intake)| but it is by no means a lower-sodium and more mineral-rich option. Keep in mind| sea salt lacks iodine and not getting enough of this compound can lead to goiter| intellectual impairments| growth retardation| and much more. In fact| iodine deficiency is a serious health threat| especially among pregnant women| according to Boston University researchers| so don’t use sea salt exclusively in your diet.

Myth 5: Some foods| like celery| have negative calories.

Fact: When something sounds too good to be true| well| it probably is. Take “negative-calorie foods” as an example. The notion is that digesting certain foods burns more calories than those foods provide. The faulty logic of this urban legend is based on the scientifically proven thermic effect of food (TEF)| which simply means the amount of energy the body uses to digest a food. The thinking goes| if you were to eat a very low-calorie food common examples include celery| apples| and limes then you’d actually create a calorie deficit. In other words| these foods would end up costing less-than-zero calories.

Sadly| there are no negative-calorie foods. The TEF generally ranges from 10 percent to 20 percent of the calories in a food. So let’s say a celery stalk has seven calories. Even if you assume a 20 percent TEF| that means you’re still left with about five and a half calories.

Myth 6: It takes 21 days to break a bad habit (or form a new one).

Fact: Popular self-help gurus and many diet plans claim that it will take 21 days to form a new healthy habit or break a bad one. The truth is| there is no magical time frame for breaking bad habits. One study that evaluated behavior change found that creating a new habit| like eating a piece of fruit daily| took an average of 66 days. However| there were wide variations anywhere from 18 days to 254 days. The authors found the adaptation time was a function of how hard the new behavior is as well as the individual. If you’re trying something new| like daily exercise| give yourself time to make it a routine. It may not happen overnight ¡ª or even in 21 days!

Myth 7: Muscle can turn to fat ( . . . and vice versa).

Fact: You’ll often hear someone at the gym say something like| “Since my injury| my muscles have turned to mush.” But this isn’t the case because muscle and fat tissues are entirely different| and therefore they can never transform from one to the other. It’s the equivalent of saying you can turn water into wine or lead into gold.

What really happens when you stop exercising is that your muscle mass declines. And how you gain fat tissue is when you eat more calories than you burn off| which is much easier to do when you’re not exercising. And likewise| when you up your exercise routine| you’ll add lean tissue and might start burning excess body fat| but your fat didn’t turn into muscle.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

Nutritionist-Recommended Pantry Staples For Weight Loss

Dietitian Julie Upton| MS| RD| of Appetite for Health| shares her list of pantry staples that can help support all your weight-loss efforts.

A well-stocked pantry is one of the best ways to ensure that you can enjoy healthy and delicious meals at a moment’s notice. What’s more| research shows that having a kitchen that’s stocked with plenty of good-for-you options can even help peel off pounds. That’s because several studies show that home-cooked meals equal smaller portions and fewer calories; less saturated fat and added sugars; and more fruits and veggies| compared to meals prepared away from home. In fact| one study reported a 2 ? to 4 times increased risk in being overweight or obese from having dinners purchased away from home.

Keep these nutritious options on hand| so you can always whip up a balanced meal in minutes.

Healthy Oils

I always have at least three different oils in my pantry. The first is extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) that is rich in beneficial antioxidants and monounsaturated fats. I use it for dipping| drizzling| and dressings. When I don’t want the oil to overpower the food| I’ll use a “light” olive oil. For Asian dishes| I generally use sesame oil| which is also lower in saturated fats and rich in beneficial mono- and polyunsaturated fats.

Vinegars

Vinegar helps control blood sugar and insulin levels and adds great flavor to a variety of dishes| like salad dressings| marinades| or sauces. My go-tos are cider| red wine| champagne| balsamic| sherry| and rice (for Asian dishes).

Canned Tomatoes

Because canned foods are picked and processed at the peak of ripeness| they have as much or sometimes even more nutrients than fresh produce. For example| canned tomatoes provide a nutritional bonus because crushing and cooking releases more lycopene| the carotenoid that makes tomatoes red and provides anticancer and heart-healthy properties. I always have a variety of whole| crushed| diced| and pureed tomato sauces in my pantry.

Canned Beans

A recent review of the literature shows that meals that include legumes (beans| peas| lentils| chickpeas| soybeans) increase the satiety of the meal by over 30 percent. To up the fullness factor of your meals| turn canned beans into a three-bean salad or add them to soups| casseroles| or veggie dishes.

Dried Herbs and Spices

Ounce per ounce| dried herbs and spices pack in more antioxidants than most other foods. A study of more than 3|000 common foods found that dried herbs like cloves| allspice| oregano| ginger| cinnamon| turmeric| basil| sage| and rosemary were some of the most concentrated antioxidant powerhouses among all foods. A teaspoon of ground cinnamon packs in as much antioxidants as a cup of pomegranate juice or ? cup of blueberries.

Whole Grains (Brown Rice| Whole-Wheat Pasta| Oats| Quinoa)

Due to their high antioxidant and fiber counts| diets rich in whole grains help reduce risk for heart disease and certain cancers and help you maintain a healthy weight over time. Make sure you have plenty of them in your pantry when you want some healthy and satisfying carbohydrates.

Honey| Maple Syrup| and Molasses

Many simple recipes call for a bit of sweetener| and the added sugars I use are those that have beneficial antioxidants and other bioactive compounds that may improve health. Although all sweeteners pack in 16-20 calories per teaspoon and should be limited| my pantry always has pure honey| maple syrup| and molasses to use in moderation.

Nuts and Nut Butters

Nut eaters are consistently leaner than those who don’t enjoy nuts| plus unsaturated fats and antioxidants from nuts help fend off heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes. When choosing nut butters| opt to grind your own| or buy the natural or organic options that have only two ingredients ¡ª nuts and salt.

Mustards

Mustards are much more than a sandwich spread. Mustards come from the cruciferous mustard greens plant| which helps temper inflammation and has both anticancer and heart-health benefits. I always have yellow| stone-ground| and Dijon mustards to add kick to meats as well as to make homemade salad dressings.

Sauces

One way to add flavor while keeping fat| sugar| and calories in check is with condiment sauces like soy| hot| hoisin| tahini| ketchup| and BBQ. Look for lower-sodium options to keep sodium counts down.

Image Source: Corbis Images

Nutritionist-Recommended Pantry Staples For Weight Loss

Dietitian Julie Upton, MS, RD, of Appetite for Health, shares her list of pantry staples that can help support all your weight-loss efforts.

A well-stocked pantry is one of the best ways to ensure that you can enjoy healthy and delicious meals at a moment’s notice. What’s more, research shows that having a kitchen that’s stocked with plenty of good-for-you options can even help peel off pounds. That’s because several studies show that home-cooked meals equal smaller portions and fewer calories; less saturated fat and added sugars; and more fruits and veggies, compared to meals prepared away from home. In fact, one study reported a 2 ? to 4 times increased risk in being overweight or obese from having dinners purchased away from home.

Keep these nutritious options on hand, so you can always whip up a balanced meal in minutes.

Healthy Oils

I always have at least three different oils in my pantry. The first is extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) that is rich in beneficial antioxidants and monounsaturated fats. I use it for dipping, drizzling, and dressings. When I don’t want the oil to overpower the food, I’ll use a “light” olive oil. For Asian dishes, I generally use sesame oil, which is also lower in saturated fats and rich in beneficial mono- and polyunsaturated fats.

Vinegars

Vinegar helps control blood sugar and insulin levels and adds great flavor to a variety of dishes, like salad dressings, marinades, or sauces. My go-tos are cider, red wine, champagne, balsamic, sherry, and rice (for Asian dishes).

Canned Tomatoes

Because canned foods are picked and processed at the peak of ripeness, they have as much ¡ª or sometimes even more ¡ª nutrients than fresh produce. For example, canned tomatoes provide a nutritional bonus because crushing and cooking releases more lycopene, the carotenoid that makes tomatoes red and provides anticancer and heart-healthy properties. I always have a variety of whole, crushed, diced, and pureed tomato sauces in my pantry.

Canned Beans

A recent review of the literature shows that meals that include legumes (beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans) increase the satiety of the meal by over 30 percent. To up the fullness factor of your meals, turn canned beans into a three-bean salad or add them to soups, casseroles, or veggie dishes.

Dried Herbs and Spices

Ounce per ounce, dried herbs and spices pack in more antioxidants than most other foods. A study of more than 3,000 common foods found that dried herbs like cloves, allspice, oregano, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, basil, sage, and rosemary were some of the most concentrated antioxidant powerhouses among all foods. A teaspoon of ground cinnamon packs in as much antioxidants as a cup of pomegranate juice or ? cup of blueberries.

Whole Grains (Brown Rice, Whole-Wheat Pasta, Oats, Quinoa)

Due to their high antioxidant and fiber counts, diets rich in whole grains help reduce risk for heart disease and certain cancers and help you maintain a healthy weight over time. Make sure you have plenty of them in your pantry when you want some healthy and satisfying carbohydrates.

Honey, Maple Syrup, and Molasses

Many simple recipes call for a bit of sweetener, and the added sugars I use are those that have beneficial antioxidants and other bioactive compounds that may improve health. Although all sweeteners pack in 16-20 calories per teaspoon and should be limited, my pantry always has pure honey, maple syrup, and molasses to use in moderation.

Nuts and Nut Butters

Nut eaters are consistently leaner than those who don’t enjoy nuts, plus unsaturated fats and antioxidants from nuts help fend off heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes. When choosing nut butters, opt to grind your own, or buy the natural or organic options that have only two ingredients ¡ª nuts and salt.

Mustards

Mustards are much more than a sandwich spread. Mustards come from the cruciferous mustard greens plant, which helps temper inflammation and has both anticancer and heart-health benefits. I always have yellow, stone-ground, and Dijon mustards to add kick to meats as well as to make homemade salad dressings.

Sauces

One way to add flavor while keeping fat, sugar, and calories in check is with condiment sauces like soy, hot, hoisin, tahini, ketchup, and BBQ. Look for lower-sodium options to keep sodium counts down.

Image Source: Corbis Images

Nutritionist Recommends How to Get All the Protein You Need, Minus the Meat

There are plenty of reasons to eat lower on the food chain| but you don’t need to sacrifice your protein intake. Nutritionist Julie Upton| MS| RD| of Appetite For Health is here to help with recommendations of high-protein foods minus the meat.

More than half of all Americans are trying to pump up the protein in their diets| according to the NPD Group| but recent headlines based on a World Health Organization report that classified processed meats as “carcinogens|” like tobacco and asbestos| have many protein-seekers looking for more meat-free protein alternatives.

The World Health Organization’s report| published in The Lancet Oncology| included more than 800 previously published studies about diet and cancer and concluded that processed and red meats| like beef| bacon| and deli meats| increase risk for colorectal cancer and possibly prostate and pancreatic cancers. They wrote that for every two-ounce portion of processed meat eaten daily| you could increase your risk for colorectal cancer by 18 percent.

While you don’t need to give up processed meats or red meat entirely| there are no downsides to cutting down on the amount you eat. What’s more| the American Cancer Society recommends eating more plant-based foods and minimizing animal-based products to reduce the risk for cancer.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is .36 grams per pound of pound weight (47 grams for a 130-pound woman)| but The American College of Sports Medicine recommends much more. They recommend that endurance athletes obtain .6 grams protein per pound and strength athletes about .75 grams per pound.

As an active “flexitarian|” some of the ways I ensure that I get the protein I need to build and maintain muscle mass is with Greek yogurt| beans| nuts| and soy. I also use some of the protein-enhanced options in the supermarket like legume-based Tolerant pasta| which has more protein per ounce than beef| and pea-protein-infused breakfast cereals that have more protein per serving than an egg. I try to make sure my snacks include nuts| like pistachios| which a new study in the British Journal of Nutrition shows has more protein| six grams per ounce| than most other nuts| and they are considered a “complete” protein with all nine essential amino acids.

Here are some of the best plant-based proteins to enjoy in place of red and processed meats and how I get ample quality protein in my diet without eating meat.

Meat-Free Choice Grams of Protein/Serving*

Split Peas24 grams per 1/2 cupGreek Yogurt (plain)20-22 grams per cupTolerant Lentil or Black Bean Pasta21-22 grams per 3 ouncesCottage Cheese13 grams per 1/2 cupLentils9 grams per 1/2 cupChickpeas20 grams per 1/2 cupProtein-Enhanced Cereal (i.e.| Great Grains Protein Blend| Kashi Go Lean| Cascadian Farm Protein Granola)8-10 grams per cupBeans (Navy| Pinto| Black| etc.)7-10 grams per 1/2 cupWhole Grains (Quinoa| Kamut| Barley| Oats| Buckwheat| Wild Rice)7-10 grams per cupSeeds (Hemp| Chia| Pumpkin| etc.)5-9 grams per ounce (about 1/4 cup)Firm Tofu9 grams per 3 ouncesNut Butters (Peanut| Almond| etc.)6-8 grams per 2 tablespoonsSoy Milk8 grams per cupPistachios6 grams per ounce (49 kernels)Eggs6 grams per large egg

*Check Nutrition Facts labels of products for grams of protein per serving.

A Sample Menu

Here’s a one-day eating plan with about 2|000 calories and 85 grams of meat-free protein:

Breakfast

Overnight yogurt| berry| and oat parfait: 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt with 1 cup fresh berries and 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats. Layer yogurt| berries| and oats in a jar or bowl and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy in the a.m.

Protein = 22 grams

Snack1 slice whole-grain toast with 1 tablespoon nut butter and 1/2 banana

Protein = 6 grams

Lunch

1 cup lentil soup with 3-4 whole-grain crackers

Tossed salad with 1/4 cup chickpeas

Protein = 20 grams

Afternoon Snack

Wonderful Pistachios 100-calorie pack (about 30 nuts)

1 soy latte

Protein = 12 grams

Dinner

1 cup Tolerant Lentil Pasta topped with marinara sauce

2 crostinis topped with fresh tomatoes| basil| and mozzarella cheese

Tossed salad with 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Protein = 25 grams

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

Nutritionist Recommends How to Get All the Protein You Need, Minus the Meat

There are plenty of reasons to eat lower on the food chain, but you don’t need to sacrifice your protein intake. Nutritionist Julie Upton, MS, RD, of Appetite For Health is here to help with recommendations of high-protein foods minus the meat.

More than half of all Americans are trying to pump up the protein in their diets, according to the NPD Group, but recent headlines based on a World Health Organization report that classified processed meats as “carcinogens,” like tobacco and asbestos, have many protein-seekers looking for more meat-free protein alternatives.

The World Health Organization’s report, published in The Lancet Oncology, included more than 800 previously published studies about diet and cancer and concluded that processed and red meats, like beef, bacon, and deli meats, increase risk for colorectal cancer and possibly prostate and pancreatic cancers. They wrote that for every two-ounce portion of processed meat eaten daily, you could increase your risk for colorectal cancer by 18 percent.

While you don’t need to give up processed meats or red meat entirely, there are no downsides to cutting down on the amount you eat. What’s more, the American Cancer Society recommends eating more plant-based foods and minimizing animal-based products to reduce the risk for cancer.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is .36 grams per pound of pound weight (47 grams for a 130-pound woman), but The American College of Sports Medicine recommends much more. They recommend that endurance athletes obtain .6 grams protein per pound and strength athletes about .75 grams per pound.

As an active “flexitarian,” some of the ways I ensure that I get the protein I need to build and maintain muscle mass is with Greek yogurt, beans, nuts, and soy. I also use some of the protein-enhanced options in the supermarket like legume-based Tolerant pasta, which has more protein per ounce than beef, and pea-protein-infused breakfast cereals that have more protein per serving than an egg. I try to make sure my snacks include nuts, like pistachios, which a new study in the British Journal of Nutrition shows has more protein, six grams per ounce, than most other nuts, and they are considered a “complete” protein with all nine essential amino acids.

Here are some of the best plant-based proteins to enjoy in place of red and processed meats and how I get ample quality protein in my diet without eating meat.

Meat-Free Choice Grams of Protein/Serving*

Split Peas24 grams per 1/2 cupGreek Yogurt (plain)20-22 grams per cupTolerant Lentil or Black Bean Pasta21-22 grams per 3 ouncesCottage Cheese13 grams per 1/2 cupLentils9 grams per 1/2 cupChickpeas20 grams per 1/2 cupProtein-Enhanced Cereal (i.e., Great Grains Protein Blend, Kashi Go Lean, Cascadian Farm Protein Granola)8-10 grams per cupBeans (Navy, Pinto, Black, etc.)7-10 grams per 1/2 cupWhole Grains (Quinoa, Kamut, Barley, Oats, Buckwheat, Wild Rice)7-10 grams per cupSeeds (Hemp, Chia, Pumpkin, etc.)5-9 grams per ounce (about 1/4 cup)Firm Tofu9 grams per 3 ouncesNut Butters (Peanut, Almond, etc.)6-8 grams per 2 tablespoonsSoy Milk8 grams per cupPistachios6 grams per ounce (49 kernels)Eggs6 grams per large egg

*Check Nutrition Facts labels of products for grams of protein per serving.

A Sample Menu

Here’s a one-day eating plan with about 2,000 calories and 85 grams of meat-free protein:

Breakfast

Overnight yogurt, berry, and oat parfait: 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt with 1 cup fresh berries and 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats. Layer yogurt, berries, and oats in a jar or bowl and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy in the a.m.

Protein = 22 grams

Snack1 slice whole-grain toast with 1 tablespoon nut butter and 1/2 banana

Protein = 6 grams

Lunch

1 cup lentil soup with 3-4 whole-grain crackers

Tossed salad with 1/4 cup chickpeas

Protein = 20 grams

Afternoon Snack

Wonderful Pistachios 100-calorie pack (about 30 nuts)

1 soy latte

Protein = 12 grams

Dinner

1 cup Tolerant Lentil Pasta topped with marinara sauce

2 crostinis topped with fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese

Tossed salad with 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Protein = 25 grams

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

20+ Cozy Paleo Soup Recipes to Keep You Healthy Through the Holidays

20+ Cozy Paleo Soup Recipes to Keep You Healthy Through the Holidays

Being sick during the holidays is not fun. Be sure to keep yourself warm and hydrated with these delicious and healthy soup recipes from our friends at PaleoHacks.

From warming cozy soups to soups made in a blender to dairy-free creamy creations| this roundup of hearty soup recipes will leave your body feeling enriched during these colder months.

Soup season is definitely here| so get the blender| saucepan| and chopping board ready to create some comforting| heartwarming bowls of goodness that will nourish your soul.

Check out these 24 cozy soup recipes that will fill your body with warmth| comfort| and toe-curling joy.

| Roasted Asparagus Soup With Tahini Drizzle

Another soup bursting with green goodness! This roasted asparagus soup is a hit for taste| nutrition| and satisfaction. Itu2019s thick| creamy| and dairy free . . . YUM!

| The Best Pumpkin Soup Ever

When it comes to cooking at this time of year| it doesnu2019t get much easier than a good old country pumpkin soup to make your body toasty cozy. Learn some rules to create a winning pumpkin soup!

| Chilled Cucumber Soup With Hemp Oil

The cucumber brings a refreshing taste to this soup| while the coconut makes it nice and creamy| and all you need is a blender. It may be a chilled soup| but it will still make the body feel good this season from the nutrition.

| Crockpot Sweet Potato Basil Soup

The Crock-Pot is a lifesaver for convenient meals when you want to spend less time in the kitchen| plus at this time of the year it is amazing to have warming aromas of this sweet potato soup fill the kitchen.

| Paleo Gobi Masala Soup

Gobi is the Hindi word for cauliflower. This spicy| aromatic cauliflower soup is one for the books.

| Magnificent Gazpacho

Overload your system with the goodness of sweet tomatoes| olive oil| garlic| cucumber| and peppers| with a refreshing gazpacho soup. The blender will create a traditional| tomato-rich soup that leaves your taste buds filled with joy!

| Sweet Potato| Caramelised Garlic| and Pine Nut Soup

This sweet potato soup recipe is as easy peasy as they come u2014 with only 3 key ingredients u2014 yet its earthy and robust flavor and velvety texture make it seem as refined as Audrey Hepburn.

| Three-Squash Soup

This is an incredibly easy recipe that takes advantage of the beautiful variety of seasonal squashes. With the addition of stock and coconut milk| they will yield a delicious Fall soup.

| Tomato Soup

This classic soup is always a hit! If youu2019ve never tried tomato soup that didnu2019t come out of a can| you owe yourself the pleasure of a big steaming bowl fresh off the stovetop.

| Creamy Pumpkin & Coconut Soup

If you love pumpkin| then you will love this pumpkin soup! It is thick| but not too thick; creamy| super smooth and silky. A winning combo for a heartwarming bowl of goodness.

| Brussels Sprout Bisque

Seasoned with nothing other than a bit of salt| this simple (but not simplistic) version of a bisque is a ten-minute recipe that exemplifies just how easy it is to prepare healthy vegetable soup.

| Vegetable Broth + Paleo Vegan Pho

Three recipes that scream flavor! Learn how to make a nutrient-dense delicious vegetable broth with a kick| while making a Pho style soup. Yes| please!

| Spiced Parsnip Soup

This hearty parsnip soup is bursting with warming| spicy flavors from the sesame oil to the cumin| turmeric| ginger| mustard seeds| and chilli| plus there are subtle hints of tangy apple cider vinegar and garlic| too| which help to really bring it all together.

| Roasted Beet and Potato Soup

This beet soup is so insanely sweet and creamy with subtle hints of coconut and cumin and a little hint of spice from the chili. Plus the color is so beautiful| vibrant| and pink that itu2019s hard to believe it’s natural!

| Paleo Ramen Noodle Bowl

This soup is packed with kelp noodles and a gorgeous array of veggies. Hello| dinner.

| Simple Ginger Carrot Soup

For a simple soup packed with vitamin A from the carrots| this ginger carrot soup has you covered. Enjoy the little kick from the ginger to turn up the simplicity a notch!

| Beetroot| Butternut Squash| and Coconut Soup

Another beetroot soup that has fewer ingredients but still packs a warming bowl of goodness. The creaminess makes the soup so wonderfully comforting| itu2019s like having a warm hug!

| Luxurious 7-Vegetable and “”Cheese”” Soup

The ingredient list may seem a bit lengthy| but it will be worth the prep work| as this soup packs a mighty punch of nutrition with incredible flavor. The nutritional yeast gives this soup a u201ccheesyu201d flavor.

| Moroccan Cauliflower Soup With Carrots| Apples| and Pistachio Cream

This healthy cauliflower soup is blended with spicy Moroccan flavors| carrots| apples| and pistachio cream for an easy Paleo-friendly Fall meal!

| The Best Vegetarian French Onion Soup

This recipe captures all the intense flavor of the original| using vegetable broth. Leave out the bread and cheese to truly enjoy the rich full flavors of this french onion soup.

| Vegetable Stew Soup

This delicious vegetable stew is so hearty and filling| it can make an excellent meal when spooned over a baked sweet potato. Itu2019s also excellent as a side dish.

| Potato Leek Soup

This potato leek soup is creamy without cream and healthy without tasting too healthy! An easy go-to soup that will enrich your soul with feel-good vibes.

| Easy Paleo Pho

Pho is a hearty and warming soup. Instead of using the traditional rice noodles| substitute with zucchini noodles! This makes an easy weeknight meal and is great for making double batches for freezing extras so that the freezer is stocked with options!

| Roasted Garlic and Zucchini Soup

This zucchini soup is perfectly comforting| as the strong garlic paired with the creamy zucchini make a wonderfully decadent soup to curl your toes with glee.